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Practice Building Idea: A simple Medicare coverage tool for your clients

August 11, 2021

In my previous blogs:

I introduced you to the real-life Medicare story I experienced with my family. As you may recall, I shared how my mom, a widow, was faced with the undaunting challenge of sorting through the myriad of Medicare coverage options as she was turning 65.

I shared the lessons I learned from helping my mom, with hope that it would provide you with key insights into Medicare coverage options and key questions for your clients to consider when it comes time for them to make their Medicare enrollment decisions. It’s no secret that Medicare planning is complicated and often one that is saved for the last minute. That is why it is so important for your clients to understand this process prior to making their enrollment decisions.

Today, I am excited to share more about the new partnership Nationwide has entered as part of our commitment to providing you with the latest and best available practice-building client-ready tools. NRI has partnered with the National Council on Aging to launch a new Medicare planning tool called My Medicare Matters®. This tool offers a simple user-friendly process to help clients compare options, enroll, and review the best options and make a Medicare plan choice that will serve their unique needs for years to come. Planning for my mom’s Medicare coverage would have been so much easier with this simple and easy to use tool!

Why National Council on Aging (NCOA)?

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) was founded in 1950 as the first charitable organization in the U.S. that would provide a national voice for older Americans and act as their advocate in dealing with service providers and policymakers. In addition to their commitment to advocacy, collaborative leadership, and their focus on economic security through programs like BenefitsCheckUp, the nation’s most comprehensive online service to screen individuals for benefits, the NCOA has a storied history of innovative services. For example, in 1962, their study1 laid the groundwork for the federal Meals on Wheels program and more recently with the launching the My Medicare Matters® tool.

According to the NCOA website, the goal of the My Medicare Matters® tool is to “eliminate confusion and efficiently navigate individuals to their desired health plan. Guided by the NCOA Standards of Excellence and with a focus on each person’s needs,” clients can “research their options across the most respected Medicare brands available in their geographic region in an unbiased fashion.”

Why did we build a tool for a product most financial professionals don’t sell?

Because your time is a valuable. We understand that successful financial practitioners engage and offer the services of other certified and licensed professionals to help meet their clients comprehensive planning needs.

Just like you may work with CPAs, Estate Planning Attorneys, Insurance Agents, etc., the Nationwide Retirement Institute and The National Council on Aging offer you an opportunity to align with a licensed, highly vetted Medicare Broker who can help your clients make the best “qualitative” Medicare coverage choices possible. In turn, this provides you with more time to focus on helping your clients with their “quantitative” financial planning needs, like planning their health care costs throughout retirement.

The NCOA My Medicare Matters® tool is a free service that you can share with your clients to give them access to the Medicare information they need to make informed decisions about their health care coverage.

Here’s how the tool works.

Identify clients who are about to become Medicare eligible (65) and input their name and email address into the My Medicare Matters® tool portal. Once engaged in the process, a personalized email is sent to your client outlining the steps they need to take. Your clients will learn about Medicare, assess their needs and then have the option to connect with a vetted, licensed Medicare broker from either Aon Retiree Health Exchange™ or Via Benefits™ and who meets NCOA’s strict Standards of Excellence. Nationwide is not affiliated and does not endorse any of the brokers or firms that are used in this program, and Nationwide does not provide Medicare coverage.

If your client decides they want to be referred to a vetted Medicare Broker, one will contact your client, discusses their specific situation, and recommend the appropriate Medicare options based upon your client’s needs. Once your client enrolls in a Medicare plan, you will receive a report identifying the outcome. Here is more on the vetting process.

The NCOA Standards of Excellence for Medicare broker selection fall under seven key areas:

  1. Agent compensation and anti-steering standards designed to ensure that consumers aren’t inappropriately persuaded to buy insurance products.
  2. Agent training and quality assurance standards designed to ensure that consumers are assisted by agents who are highly trained and continuously monitored for excellent performance.
  3. Carrier representation standards designed to ensure that consumers can choose from a broad range of the best coverage options available to them — even if the plans fall outside of the brokerage service.
  4. Consumer advocacy standards designed to ensure that customers get free, additional assistance when they have difficulties with issues such as access to care and prescriptions; claims denials; incorrect payments, authorizations and referrals; and Medicare coordination of benefits.
  5. Consumer education and decision-support standards designed to ensure that consumers (via web and telephone) have comprehensive information about coverage options and plan choices that is logical, clear, consumer-focused, unbiased and based on individual needs, preferences and circumstances.
  6. Customer service and support standards designed to ensure that customers receive excellent and prompt service that is available in many languages and accessible for people with hearing loss.
  7. Regulatory compliance standards Designed to ensure that the brokerage and its agents comply with all relevant Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and state insurance regulations and notification requirements.

Turning 65 happens 365. Every day, 10,000 baby boomers are turning Medicare eligible, and they need your help. According to our Nationwide/Harris poll, 59% of those surveyed told us they’d like to understand Medicare coverage better, and nearly half tell us they plan on talking about Medicare with a financial professional. (2)

Whether providing client education on the ABDCs of Medicare, answering common questions like…

  • What does Medicare cost?
  • When do I need to enroll?
  • Does Medicare cover pre-existing conditions?

…or providing you with access to The NCOA My Medicare Matters® tool, the Nationwide Retirement Institute is ready to partner with you to help provide your clients with actionable insights, valuable education, and planning tools for life’s most important moments.

Sources and Disclaimers

  • 1

  • 2

    Nationwide/Harris Poll “Health Care and Long-Term Care Study.” Consumer study of 1,462 adults 50 and older with investable assets $50K or more and 516 adults 50 and older who are caregivers, 2019.

  • Nationwide and NCOA are separate and nonaffiliated companies.

    My Medicare Matters® is a registered trademark of the National Council on Aging.